UM-Dearborn's Child Development Center partners with Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. to benefit children

December 15, 2006

UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little, left, and Gerald D. Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of Oakwood Healthcare Inc., signed an agreement marking a collaboration between UM-Dearborn’s Child Development Center and Oakwood’s Program for Exceptional Families.

DEARBORN / Dec. 15, 2006---The School of Education at the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. have formally signed a collaboration agreement to support UM-Dearborn’s Child Development Center and other campus programs as well as Oakwood’s Program for Exceptional Families, which serves children with disabilities and their families.

“Our goal with this partnership is to build a comprehensive, long-term relationship between UM-Dearborn and Oakwood while supporting each other’s missions for education, clinical care, research and service to the community,” according to Paul Zionts, dean of UM-Dearborn’s School of Education.

“The affiliation Oakwood has created with the University of Michigan–Dearborn is reason to celebrate,” according to Susan Youngs, MD, director of the Program for Exceptional Families. “We can now begin the journey of establishing educational, clinical and research partnerships that ultimately benefit children with disabilities and their families.”

Oakwood’s Program for Exceptional Families is designed for children with complex disorders and disabilities such as autism, cerebral palsy and Down Syndrome. The program, which serves more than 800 families annually, is the only clinic in southeastern Michigan where care for health, social service needs, mental health and physical therapy are all available in one location.

“This collaboration also opens the door for the formation of joint ventures, the education of professionals to better serve children with disabilities, the enhancement of specialized clinical services and the exploration of research opportunities,” Youngs said. “When the medical community for kids with disabilities comes together with the education community – it’s a win for the kids.”

The joint venture will support collaborative work between UM-Dearborn and Oakwood Healthcare, Inc. in four main areas--education, clinical services, research and development opportunities--over the next 20 years.

In the future, both the Child Development Center and the Oakwood program will share a new expanded facility on the UM-Dearborn campus, housing both an expanded Child Development Center and the Oakwood program. This facility will be a model site for innovative educational practices for the inclusion of children with special needs within the early childhood classroom and for the preparation of teachers.

The partnership will allow UM-Dearborn to: diversify the educational experience for future teachers; recruit and retain high-quality faculty; and expand educational services for children with disabilities in the region and the professionals serving these children and their families.

“We believe this partnership will reinforce the fact that UM-Dearborn is a landmark for excellence in teaching,” Zionts said.

For Oakwood, the partnership will help to establish a permanent home for its Program for Exceptional Families, which will work in integration with UM-Dearborn’s Child Development Center and other programs.

The partnership also allows UM-Dearborn to appoint Oakwood clinicians as adjunct professors for teaching and consultation on academic programs, or as representatives to campus advisory committees.



High resolution photo of UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little and Gerald D. Fitzgerald, chief executive officer of Oakwood Healthcare Inc.


CONTACT: Jennifer Sroka
PHONE: 313-593-5644
The Office of University Relations
Room 1040, Administration Building
University of Michigan-Dearborn